Jonathan Greenhause

My Reincarnated Coworker’s Past Lives are to Blame

for making him late for work,
mystifying him when the alarm goes off: He knows it’s 7am,

but he’s not quite sure which specific century he’s in.
When pouring his morning coffee,

he can’t recall if he’s the servant
or the person being served, & he struggles with buttons,

unable to decipher why his zipper’s perennially getting stuck,
why he kisses his wife goodbye

but constantly loses track
of his sexual orientation. Once he fought barbarians; now

he tackles traffic, honks his horn as if vanquishing enemies,
as if he were Erik the Red

with decidedly-less devastation.
It depresses him to realize the highway’s overflowing

with other lives like his. Some days, he’d make it here on time
if his samurai weren’t dueling with

his flame-retardant Joan of Arc,
if he didn’t stop by every spot he would’ve gravitated to

in his previous embodiments: Each antique shop
begs his storied entrance;

each local museum summons him
like loves never consummated. Perhaps one glorious day

he’ll find the perfect job in an infinitely-better future life,
but more than likely

he’ll arrive late to that one, too.

 


Jonathan GreenhauseWinner of the 2017 Ledbury Poetry Competition and the 2017 Prism Review Poetry Contest, Jonathan Greenhause’s poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in decemberThe FiddleheadLitMag, The Rialto, and Subtropics, among others.  His second chapbook, Secret Traits of Everyday Things, was published by Encircle Publications in September.